Our Commercial Disputes Associate, Alexia Thomas, looks at a recent story in the media involving a forged Will. 

A widow who sought to inherit her late husband’s estate after finding an alternative Will in her loft inside an empty Doritos crisp packet has been labelled a liar by the court.

Marsha Henderson married retired bus conductor-turned-lollipop man Newton Davies in 2004, when he was 76 and she was still in her 20's. After Mr. Davies died in 2013 he left £25,000 to Ms Henderson but the majority of his £600,000 estate went to his only daughter from his first marriage, Paulette.

This Will was subsequently challenged by Ms Henderson two years after her husband’s death, who said she had discovered a second Will in the loft of her house in Wembley, which she had shared with the deceased.

Judge Nigel Gerald, sitting at the Mayor’s and City of London Court said that the second Will was invalid and an obvious forgery. The Judge highlighted one striking error in the forged Will - that it refers to “her” last Will rather than “his” - and that in the circumstances he did not regard this as a trifling or inconsequential defect. A handwriting expert was also called in to inspect the signature on the document, identifying signs of hesitation and correction and “a lack of natural fluidity”. It was also pointed out that the Will was written on A4 paper, which is larger than a Doritos packet; “None of this makes too much sense. It is plain that Ms Henderson is lying,” the Judge added.

The Judge continued that “It will obviously strike anybody as being somewhat eccentric to put an important document such as a Will into a Doritos bag, but there are eccentric people in this world… It is inherently unlikely that the deceased would go into the loft in November 2011, find an empty Doritos bag and put his Will in it. There is eccentric and there is ridiculous - and this is ridiculous.”

The Judge’s ruling means that the original Will stands, with the majority going to his daughter, Paulette Davies.